Ian McEwan used to be one of my favourite authors. I would instantly buy any book that he wrote. Over time, it became harder to care. I’d either not read it or just wouldn’t bother buying them. It wasn’t until Nutshell came out that I was bothered by his latest releases. It just sounded so good. So good that I promptly bought a copy and then didn’t read it for years. I tried to read it once but couldn’t get into it. I figured it was just going to be another one of those books that sit on my shelves forever unread. Until I found the audiobook in the library catalogue. Then it became the soundtrack to my work over a couple of days this week. Was it worth the wait?
There was a moment a few days before the end of May when I realised just how few books I’d read that month. So, in a desperate bid to up my numbers and feel less guilty, I listened to a couple of short audiobooks at work. They’re both books that I’ve had in my Audible library for a while and ones that would take less than a working day to finish. Both great reasons to pick a book. Who cares about plot anyway? I didn’t have a great deal to say about either of them so I’ve bundled them together here.
Once again, I found myself without much to review because I’m still doing terribly at reading. In order to get this post up, I listened to 3 audiobooks on Monday. They were all short and free with my Audible subscription. I guess my lack of organisation is helping me experience books that I’d never have picked up normally. If only I could get through the books on my TBR as easily.
Considering the obsession with the royal family in last week’s newspapers, it seems appropriate that I’m reviewing this novella. I don’t know what the absolute fascination with the Queen and her offspring is. I’m don’t consider myself ardently anti-royal because I can see some of the benefits of their existence. However, I wouldn’t be sorry if we got rid of them altogether. It’s an outdated institution and they do waste a lot of taxpayers money each year. I know The Crown is trying to make the seem like ordinary human beings but you just need to look at the reaction to Harry and Meghan taking a step back from public life. Given the media response, I can see why they’d want to. The Queen and her family just seem so far removed from the rest of the world. It seems like such an odd dynamic. I realise that they’re meant to be part of our great traditions but do they have to be quite so archaic about it? But I’m digressing. The fact is, there is such a fascination about their lives that people have always used them as a basis for their stories. After all, nobody can really imagine what life as a royal is really like. There will always be a market for books like The Uncommon reader and there will always be writers willing to imagine life behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace.
We’re so close to the end of the year which means that everyone is thinking about what they’ve achieved this year. For us bookish folks that mainly means the number of books that we’ve read. I’m already seeing people compiling their list of favourite books for 2020. How are they so on it? I’ve figured out which my top 5 rated books are but that doesn’t mean they were my favourite reads. Flawless books don’t always give us the same feels as slightly flawed books do. It’s not always the most fun to read a technically brilliant book. I have been looking back over my reviews for the year though. I think I get more wary of ratings near New Year’s Eve because I remember all of the great books I’ve read over the last 12 months. The books I’m currently reading start to pale in comparison to the books I’d long forgotten about until now. I blame that for my struggle to rate this book. I couldn’t decide so went with a bit of a compromise. Next year, I’m only doing rereads on December. It’s easier.
I’ve read a few shorter reads recently and I wasn’t sure that I’d have enough to say for a full review without waffling on for ages. So, I decided to do something a bit different and shove a few mini reviews together in one post. It means that I won’t necessarily go into too much detail but that’s probably for the best. I’m still kind of undecided about how I feel about two of them and the third is just not the kind of book that demands an in-depth analysis. So, I’ll spare you the pain of having to read a messy full review and leave you with these little tidbits.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s rundown, my reading hasn’t exactly been great recently. I’m being a bit slow and not getting through my Christmas TBR very quickly. So, I really need a few short reads to boost my numbers. Otherwise, I’ll get to December 25th and still have so many festive reads to get through. Exactly what happened to me in October when I neglected my Halloween TBR. Thankfully, my most recent read was a super quick one that I managed to finish in less than a hour on Sunday. It’s exactly what I needed and has, hopefully, set me on a positive literary journey during my days off. Or, it will give me a false sense of security and I’ll forget to do any of the things that I need to do. But, we’ll get to that when we get to it.
This would typically be the time that I post a book review but, unfortunately, I was never going to finish a book for today. I’m so used to reading shorter books at the moment that I completely underestimated the time it would take to read a 300+ page book. When it comes to books, size doesn’t matter. Some of the best books that I’ve read recently have been around 200 pages. I know in certain parts of the bookish community, there is something competitive about book size. To some people, if you’re not reading long books then you aren’t doing it right. Me? I’ll do whatever it takes to get enough books read in a week. With a full-time job and other committments, shorter books are the best way to do that. Of course, this means that I’ve got quite an arsenal of quick reads ready to recommend.
December is probably always my worst month for reading. This year is better because I’ve been a better reader all year. That doesn’t mean I’m at the top of my game though. I’ve been reading Nothing Last Forever since the start of the month and it’s taking me ages. I’ve had to pick some quick reads to make sure I have something to write about. Last week’s The Letters of Father Christmas was one and today’s Festive Spirits is another. What I have managed to achieve this year is sticking to Christmassy reads. I normally try and theme my reading but have never normally managed it. It feels good to be reading appropriate books for a change. Every other December I’ve been madly trying to finish the book I started in October or November and haven’t bothered to get through yet. I’m also normally still a fair way from my reading goal but I’ve already beaten it twice this year. Maybe I’ve finally become a proper adult? Well, it only took 31 years.